Archive for the ‘hard work’ Tag

09-21-2015 Journal–2016 Garden Additions!   1 comment

How often do you open your eyes in the morning and spring out of bed to face the day?  If you do, congratulations, but if you don’t then you’re like me.  I lay there for at least ten minutes with my eyes tightly closed and not moving a muscle.  If I made any movement my big hairy alarm clock (the cat) will pounce on me in a flash.  He wants fed and watered and won’t take no for an answer.

If things are really quiet I know my better-half has already left for work making it possible for me to ease into my day.  I make my way to the WC, take care of that business and then to the kitchen to feed the effing cat and get COFFEE!!!!. Without the promise of coffee I’d never leave the bedroom.

I made a trip to Lowes yesterday and purchased some lumber for today’s project. I decided to get a jump on 2016 by making a few alterations to the garden  before the snows arrive.  I’m hardy ever this motivated but I convinced myself to get off my butt and do something useful.

DSCN0139

DSCN0140

The better-half and I discussed making garden changes last week and I think I even surprised her a little yesterday.  I decided to add two side frames to the garden that will be used to grow nothing but sunflowers.  The total square footage will increase by only 32 square feet but that’s more than enough room for a lot of sunflowers.  The better-half loves them almost as much as the birds that eat them do.

The first chore was to dig up the existing grass for removal to other areas of the yard to re-sod a few bare spots.

DSCN0141

DSCN0142

The soil in this area contains a lot of clay and it makes growing things difficult. That’s the reason for the frames. They are are to be filled with a lot of good topsoil and fertilizer to help those sunflowers along.

DSCN0144

It’s takes a lot of work and time to carefully move the sod. We have one section of the yard that’s refused all of our efforts to grow grass. I’m hoping this effort today will finally solve that problem once and for all.  After all of that work I’m left with two area like this:

DSCN0145

Come April and May I’ll be so glad I finished this project today. Thank God for dark roast coffee.

08-26-2013   3 comments

It feels like a good day for a journal entry.  As the summer winds down my better-half and I have been very busy with the garden and the canning of everything possible.  Even though the weather’s been a little strange at times this summer overall it’s still been very productive.

I’ve been forced to work very hard this week due to the subpar garden fabric I purchased at Home Depot earlier his year.  Because of the failure of the fabric to eliminate the ever present weeds I’m now faced with several days of back breaking work to clean up weeds and begin to remove plants that have run their course.  I worked on my hands and knees for three hours removing weeds and pieces of surviving fabric and being ever so careful not to damage the hot pepper plants that are still producing.  I have a small trailer for my lawn tractor and I filled it twice with weeds in almost no time.

The Cayenne, Serrano, and bell peppers are still going strong and should continue for a few more weeks.  The cold nights aren’t helping but what can I do? I’ve removed fifty percent of the cucumber plants because we are becoming overwhelmed with them.  I canned more than forty pints of hot Bread & Butter pickles and could have done at least that many more.  Truthfully I ‘m just tired of looking at them.  I found myself dreaming about pickles a couple of recent nights which was a little disturbing to say the least. I’ve taken three handful of rhubarb seeds and planted an area behind the house with them.  If we’re lucky next spring might bring us an entire new patch of rhubarb.  The plants from last year have done well and next summer we’ll be making some killer strawberry-rhubarb jam.

I’m really tired of this weeding.  I’ll need to check with a nearby friend for advice on what fabric to buy for next year. I don’t plan on ever doing this again even if it cost me a few additional dollars.

We’ve successfully filled the larder with pickles, relishes, herb flavored vinegars, vegetable mixes (for stir-fry’s), spicy pasta sauce, salsa (2 large batches), and three batches of jams.  We spent one recent day at our favorite blackberry patch and within a half hour collected close to three quarts of blackberries.  The triple-berry jam recipe is to die for and we’ll now have more than enough for the winter and as gifts for friends.  I might even consider a small batch of black berry wine if we have enough berries.

All in all a very successful summer.  We’ve now started winding down in preparation for winter and it already feels like Fall and it’s still only August. I’m planning on rebuilding a portion of the garden and changing things around a little.  Then it’s soil preparation, fertilizing, and waiting for the snow to fly.

I’d like to chat further but I’ve got more work to do before my better-half gets home from work.

* * *

Just as an afterthought here’s a little something I just received from my sister. It made me laugh out loud and that’s always a good thing.  Enjoy.

HOW IS NORMA?

A sweet grandmother telephoned St. Joseph ‘s Hospital. She timidly asked,
"Is it possible to speak to someone who can tell me how a patient is doing ?"

The operator said,
"I’ll be glad to help, dear. What’s the name and room number of the patient ?"

The grandmother in her weak, tremulous voice said "Norma Findlay, Room 302."

The operator replied,
"Let me put you on hold while I check with the nurse’s station for that room."

After a few minutes, the operator returned to the phone and said, "I have good news. Her nurse just told me that Norma is doing well. Her blood pressure is fine; her blood work just came back normal and her physician, Dr. Cohen, has scheduled her to be discharged tomorrow."

The grandmother said,
"Thank you. That’s wonderful. I was so worried. God bless you for the good news."

The operator replied,
"You’re more than welcome. Is Norma your daughter ?"

The grandmother said,
"No, I’m Norma Findlay in Room 302. No one tells me shit."

05-16-2013   2 comments

After today I came to truly understand why I’d never have made a very good farmer.  It’s one of the hardest working careers someone could possibly pursue. I was advised by my nursery owning friend that the final fear of frost had finally passed and now I’m free to begin planting my garden.  I’ve been waiting patiently for this day for weeks which should explain just how stupid I can be.

While my garden is not a full fledged farm, it still requires a great deal of work and attention to be successful. My preparations for this summers garden started last Fall when I composted the entire garden.  It’s continued until today with making the decisions on what will be grown, how much to plant, where to plant, and when to plant.  I purchased the majority of the plants early but it was too cold to plant them.  I’ve had them stored in a cold frame for almost two weeks until the fear of frost had passed.

I started my day today by planting kale, spinach, beets, kohlrabi, and a selection of new herbs.  For the second year I’ve been forced to replace a number of herb plants that didn’t survive the winter.  It’s frustrating as hell but it’s something I’ve learned to live with.  I added thyme, lime basil, dill, cilantro, rosemary, and curry to the already existing plants.  The herb garden is now complete for this year and I hope I can harvest enough this Fall to get us through next winter.

After having a quick lunch I began planting the remaining plants I’ve been nursing along for all these weeks.  I planted my zucchini, yellow squash, and pickling cucumbers.  A few years ago I picked up a tip from an old gardener on how to grow these types of plants.  He explained that when planting just place a partially crushed hard boiled egg a few inches beneath each plant to provide extra nourishment during the early growth weeks.  I tried it for the first time last year with excellent results.  I grew a number of plants with eggs and an equal number and type without.  There was a marked difference in the size of the plants with eggs as well as the amount of squash, cucumbers, and zucchini s they produced.

After completing the planting I watered everything by hand to help them get established.  I then hooked up the sprinkler system and tested it.  As always problems arise at the worst times.  One of the sprinkler sections refused to work requiring another hour of my time to repair it.  One last job was to de-slug the garden.  Our worst problem here are slugs that can be really destructive if not properly controlled.  I spread a sufficient amount of pellets around each plant to begin the battle for this year.  I’ll be forced to do this at least three more times this growing season to keep those damn slugs under control.

Water every day, try to chase away the deer, rabbits, and other creatures at night and maybe the garden will be a success.  Expect the worst and hope for the best.  I couldn’t even begin to understand how farmers with hundreds of acres ever get all of their work done but I’m glad they do.

Hopefully after today I can sit on my deck for a few months and watch everything grow.  Then it will be time to harvest all the goodies and prepare the garden for next year.